National Institute of Plant Genome Research
Digital India     
    Dr. Alok Krishna Sinha
    FNASc, Staff Scientist VI
    Ph.D: National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow
    Postdoctoral Fellow: University of Regensburg (AvH fellow) and University of Wuerzburg Germany
    Tel: 91-11-26741612,14,17 Ext. - 188
    Direct - 26735188
    Fax: 91-11-26741658
 Research Interest
Understanding mitogen activated protein kinase cascade in plants
Our group is interested in understanding the complexity of signals being transduced through mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade in plants. The MAPK cascade is evolutionarily conserved among the eukaryotes and typically consists of three types of protein kinases, MAPK, MAPK kinase (MAPKK), and MAPKK kinase (MAPKKK). By responding to external stimuli, the MAPK cascade plays a critical role in gene expression, metabolism, cell death, proliferation, and differentiation. In plants, the MAPK cascade is also involved in various biotic and abiotic stress responses, hormone responses, cell division, and developmental processes. Rice and Arabidopsis are two-model system we are using to understand this complex signaling cascade. By using a combinations of molecular and biochemical techniques along with genomics and proteomic approaches we are trying to identify the function of specific MAPKs. Our main focus lies in understanding the role of MAPKs during development and plant-pathogen interaction both in rice and Arabidopsis.
 Awards & Honors
2015: TATA Innovation Fellowship by the Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India.
2013: National Bioscience Award from Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India
2013: Dr. B.C. Deb Memorial Award from Indian Science Congress Association
2006 and 2010: Re-invitation as Alexander-von-Humboldt Fellow
2011: Fellow of National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad, India (FNASc)
2007-2009: DST-DAAD Fellow
1998-2000: Alexander-von-Humboldt Fellow
 Group Members
 Detailed Research Publications
 Selected Research Publications
Singh P and Sinha AK (2016) A positive feedback loop governed by Sub1A1 interaction with Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase 3 imparts submergence tolerance in rice. The Plant Cell Advance Publication April 14, 2016, doi: http:/ / dx. doi. org/ 10. 1105/ tpc. 15. 01001
Sheikh AH, Eschen-lippold L, Pecher P, Hoehenwarter W. Sinha AK, Scheel D, and Lee J (2016). Regulation of WRKY46 transcription factor function by mitogen activated protein kinases in Arabidopsis thaliana. Frontiers in Plant Science 7.
Jalmi SK and Sinha AK (2015). ROS mediated MAPK signaling in abiotic and biotic stress-striking similarities and differences. Frontiers in Plant Science 6.
Singh P, Mohanta TK, Sinha AK (2015) Unraveling the intricate nexus of molecular mechanism governing rice root development: OsMPK3/6 and auxin-cytokinin interplay.  PLoS One 10(4):e0123620.
Pandey C, Raghuram B, Sinha AK and Gupta M. (2015). miRNA plays a role in the antagonistic effect of  selenium on arsenic stress in rice seedlings. Metallomics, 7(5), 857-866.
Raghuram, B. Sheikh AH, Rustagi Y, and Sinha AK (2014) MicroRNA biogenesis factor DRB1 is a phosphorylation target of mitogen activated protein kinase, MPK3 in both rice and Arabidopsis. FEBS Journal. doi: 10.1111/febs.13159
Sethi V, Raghuram B, Sinha AK* and Chattopadhyay S (2014). A mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade module, MKK3-MPK6 and MYC2, is involved in blue light-mediated seedling development in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell, 26(8): 3343-57. doi: 10.1105/tpc.114.128702.
Sheikh AH, Raghuram, B, Esschel-Lipold L, Scheel D, Lee J, and Sinha AK Agroinfiltration bycytokinin producing Agrobacterium strain GV3101 primes the plant defense response in Nicotiana tabacum. Molecular Plant Microbe Interaction (doi/pdfplus/10.1094/MPMI-04-14-0114-R).
Raghuram, B. Sheikh AH and Sinha AK (2014) Regulation of MAP kinase signaling cascade by microRNAs in Oryza sativa. Plant Signaling and Behavior (In Press).
Verma M, Ghangal R, Sharma R, Sinha AK and Jain M (2014) Transcriptome analysis of Catharanthus roseus for gene discovery and expression profiling. PLoS One (9(7): e103583. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103583).
Kumar K and Sinha AK (2014) Identification of differential expression of genes in overexpressed constitutively activated mitogen activated protein kinase kinase 6 in rice. Plant Signaling Behavior, 1;9(3). Pii:e258502.
Sheikh AH, Raghuram B, Jalmi SK, Wankhede DP, Singh P and Sinha AK (2013) Interaction between two rice mitogen activated protein kinases and its possible role in plant defense. BMC Plant Biology, 13: 121 doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-121.
Wankhede DP, Kundan K, Singh P and Sinha AK (2013) Involvement of mitogen activated protein kinase kinase 6 in UV induced transcripts accumulation of genes in phytoalexin biosynthesis in rice. Rice (Editorially accepted).
Kumar K and Sinha AK (2013) Over expression of constitutively active mitogen activated protein kinase kinase 6 enhances tolerance to salt stress in rice. Rice (Editorially accepted).
Wankhede DP, Misra M, Singh P and Sinha AK (2013) Rice MAPKK and MAPK interaction network revealed by in-silico docking and yeast two-hybrid approaches. PLoS One 8(5): e65011.
Wankhede DP, Biswas DK, Rajkumar S and Sinha AK (2013) Expressed Sequence Tags and molecular cloning and characterization of gene encoding pinoresinol/lariciresinol reductase from Podophyllum hexandrum. Protoplasma. 1-11.
Raina SK, Wankhede DP and Sinha AK (2013) Catharanthus roseus mitogen-activated protein kinase 3 confers UV and heat tolerance to Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Plant Signal. Behav. 8(1).
Raina SK, Wankhede DP, Jaggi M, Singh P, Jalmi SK, Raghuram B, Sheikh AH and Sinha AK (2012) CrMPK3, a mitogen activated protein kinase from Catharanthus roseus and its possible role in stress induced biosynthesis of monoterpenoid indole alkaloids. BMC Plant Biology. Aug 7;12(1):134. (In press).
Kumar S, Jaggi M and Sinha AK (2012) Ectopic overexpression of vacuolar and apoplastic Catharanthus roseus peroxidases confers differential tolerance to salt and dehydration stress in transgenic tobacco. Protoplasma 212: 423-432.
Hampp C, Richter A, Osorio S, Zellnig G, Sinha AK, Jammer A, Fernie AR, Grimm B, Roitsch T (2012) Establishment of a photoautotrophic cell suspension culture of Arabidopsis thaliana for photosynthetic, metabolic, and signaling studies. Molecular Plant 5(2): 524-527.
Jaggi M, Kumar S and Sinha AK (2011). Overexpression of an apoplastic peroxidase gene CrPrx in transgenic hairy root lines of Catharanthus roseus. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 90(3): 1005-1116.
Kumar S, Jaggi M, Taneja J and Sinha AK (2011). Cloning and characterization of two new Class III peroxidase genes from Catharanthus roseus. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 49(4): 404-412.
Kumar K, Rao KP, Biswas D and Sinha AK (2011). Rice WNK1 is regulated by abiotic stress and involved in internal circadian rhythm. Plant Signaling and Behavior 6(3): 316-320.
Sinha AK, Jaggi M, Raghuram B, and Tuteja N (2011). Mitogen activate dprotein kinase signaling in plant under abiotic stress. Plant Signaling and Behavior 6(2): 196-203. [COVER ARTICLE].
Rao KP, Vani G, Kumar K, Wankhede DP, Misra M, Gupta M and Sinha AK (2011) Arsenic stress activates MAP kinase in rice roots and leaves. Archieves of Biochemistry and Biophysics 506: 73-82.
Bonfig KB, Gabler A, Simon UK, Luschin-Ebengreuth N, Hatz M, Berger S, Muhammad N, Zeier J, Sinha AK, Roitsch T (2010) Post-translational depression of invertase activity in source leaves via down regulation of invertase inhibitor expression is part of the plant defense response. Molecular Plant, 3: 1037-1048.
Taneja J, Jaggi M, Wankhede DP, and Sinha AK (2010) Effect of loss of T-DNA genes on MIA biosynthetic pathway gene regulation and alkaloid accumulation in Catharanthus roseus hairy roots. Plant Cell Rep. 29(10): 1119-1129.
Rao KP, Richa T, Kumar K, Raghuram B and Sinha AK (2010) In silico analysis reveals 75 members of mitogen activated protein kinase kinase kinase gene family in rice. DNA Research, 17(3): 139-53.
Rao KP, Vani G, Kumar K and Sinha AK (2009) Rhythmic expression of Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase Activity in Rice. Molecules and Cells 28: 417-422.
Gupta M, Sharma P, Sarin NB, and Sinha AK (2009) Differential responses of arsenic stress in two varieties of Brassica juncea. Chemosphere 74: 1201-1208.
Kumar K, Rao KP, Sharma P and Sinha AK (2008) Differential regulation of rice mitogen activated protein kinase kinase (MKK) by abiotic stress. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 46: 891-897.
Berger S, Sinha AK and Roitsch T (2007) Plant physiology meets phytopathology: relations between plant primary metabolism and plant-pathogen-interactions. Journal of Experimental Botany 58: 4019-2026.
Kumar S, Dutta A, Sinha AK and Sen J (2007) Cloning, characterization and localization of a novel basic peroxidase gene from Catharanthus roseus. FEBS Journal 274: 1290-1303.
Thoma I, Loeffler C, Sinha AK, Gupta M, Krischke M, Steffan B, Roitsch T and Mueller MJ (2003) Cyclopentenone isoprostanes induced by reactive oxygen species trigger defense gene activation and phytoalexin accumulation in plants. The Plant Journal 34: 363-375. (Cover article)
Roitsch T, Balibrea ME, Hofmann M, Proels R and Sinha AK (2003) Extracellular invertase: key metabolic enzyme and PR protein. Journal of Experimental Botany 54, 382: 513-24.
Link V, Sinha AK, Vasistha P, Hofmann MG, Proels RK, Ehness R and Roitsch T (2002) Activation of a MAPK by heat in tomato cell suspension cultures. FEBS Letter 531, 2: 179-183.
Sinha AK, Hofmann, M, Romer U, Kockenberger W, Elling L and Roitsch T (2002) Metabolizable and non-metabolizable sugars activate different signal transduction pathways in tomato. Plant Physiology 128: 1480-1489.
Link V, Hofmann M, Sinha AK, Ehness R, Strnad M and Roitsch T (2002) Biochemical evidence for the activation of distinct subsets of mitogen-activated protein Kinase by voltage and defence related stimuli. Plant Physiology 128: 271-281.